Merry Christmas to all Portland Trail Blazers fans out there! We hope your holiday will be beautiful and full of joy. Even though the Blazers don’t play today, you can always join our Christmas Day Open Thread for the slate of NBA games. The Lakers play at 11:30 AM, Pacific. Rooting for them to lose is almost as fun as rooting for Portland to win, so knock yourself out! The thread is right next to this one on the front page.
As you’re doing that, though, let’s spend some time together as Blazers fans. All of us are here for a reason. If you’re here on Christmas Day, connecting to each other might be a part of it. So let’s share together some of the things that make us Blazers supporters in the first place.
The question is simple: What’s the greatest gift that the Trail Blazers have ever given to you? The answer might be a player, a game, an experience or event...whatever you look at warmly and say, “That’s why this matters to me!”
You can share your stories in the comments section. Others can read and respond too, and together we’ll remember why we’re a community.
My own story is pretty simple. I grew up in a good enough family. I had my needs met. My parents tried hard. But all of us go through stuff, right? My parents had too. There was a fair amount of brokenness. It doesn’t need to be described. All of you have experienced similar things in your relationships too. If that brokenness imprints a little more on kids than on hardened adults, well, that’s the way the world works, right?
But when the Blazers came on, my family all had something to unite around. We’d listen to Bill Schonely call the games on radio, rising and falling with every play. We’d listen in the car or at home. Wherever we were, we had that moment together. The glue wasn’t binding. The Blazers weren’t stronger than all the other forces that affected us. But the games became oases, respite from all the other stuff, a couple hours in which we lost ourselves—and found new selves—together.
That story gained intensity when I underwent a period of fairly sustained, significant depression. Anyone who’s experienced it knows what it’s like. It’s not that you feel bad always. You just either feel bad or feel nothing. Goodness doesn’t penetrate, somehow. It’s not your fault; it’s not anyone’s fault. It just is.
But even in the midst of that, I was able to connect to the Blazers. I watched them soar and fall, mirroring my own life. Somehow that next game, the next season, became important enough to hold onto, one of a few reasons to want to see what tomorrow would bring...one of the few hopes that it might be something different, something good.
Fortunately I emerged from that period in my life and found enough strength (and/or purpose) to never go back. But I remembered what it was like, and how watching the team carried me through.
At some point, I found myself able to connect to others through the sport as well. People who had nothing in common, from all situations and walks of life, could unite around this topic. In this spirit, Blazer’s Edge grew. And now it’s the same kind of connection point for many that I felt instinctively way back then.
That sense of connection and community is the greatest gift the Blazers have given me. To this day I’m paying it back, word by word, post by post. I’m appreciative of all the players, coaches, and fans who help to create and sustain that connection, and of all of you reading today.
What gift have the Blazers given you? Share in the comment section below, and Happy Holidays to all!